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Cookbook club - April- Diana Henry and Italian

(71 Posts)
whatareyoueatingNOW Wed 28-Mar-18 21:47:38

Hi all smile

Another month gone by and shiny new thread for April, though I'm sore march middle eastern will be continuing with all the lamb cooked over Easter wink

We're coming Diana Henry as our cookbook author- any of her recipes online or any of her written recipes can be made, just make any and review your recipes here.

As usual we're also covering a more general cuisine - this month Italian. So any Italian cookbooks you have can be used, share any classic Italian recipes that you have, and anything from any Italian themed blogs/ online sources that you find grin

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whatareyoueatingNOW Mon 02-Apr-18 19:16:06

I've kicked off Italian with ginos hidden Italy.

I made his saffron pasta which is beautiful. A very good recipe for pasta and one I'll definitely repeat

I also made his meat ragu which mixes lamb and beef mince. To his recipe I found it rather bland- no garlic, no bay, no basil or oregano- just tomato meat really. I added roasted garlic , and numerous other things to improve it. There are better recipes and without additions I feel it would have been a waste of the meat.

Nonetheless I'm glad I made it because the pasta was delicious and I have extra for tomorrow, and with modifications the sauce was very good too.

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CinnamonSweet73 Mon 02-Apr-18 21:09:38

A lot of Diana Henry's books are in this month's Kindle sale!
The saffron pasta sounds delicious - pity about the ragu.

EnglishGirlApproximately Mon 02-Apr-18 21:15:02

Checking in smile I’ve had a super busy weekend so not picked out any recipes yet but I’ll have a browse tomorrow and get some planned in. I’m off on a cruise at the weekend so won’t be joining in for a while but I’ll be with you in spirit and make sure I eat plenty of good food and drink the odd bottle of Italian wine wink

myrtleWilson Mon 02-Apr-18 21:19:37

oh I've lost my way a bit with the last two months but am back with a vengeance. I have three Diana Henry books (A Change of Appetite, A Bird in the Hand and Simple).
Ones we cook fairly frequently -
Goan Fish Curry,
chicken forestiere,
Brazilian Chicken and prawn xinxim,
paprika roast chicken with caraway potatoes, quick pickled cucumber and soured cream,
chicken breasts with wild mushroom sauce and Puy lentils,
baked merguez with beans, eggs and feta,
chicken with cider, ginger
chicken with Japanese smashed cucumber,
boozy mushrooms on brioche).

There is a lot of chicken recipes because of A Bird in the Hand and my love of chicken!

Happy to post recipes if anyone wants these!

saltedcaramelhotchoc Tue 03-Apr-18 08:08:24

Thanks for Kindle heads up- total bargain! I prefer real cookbooks but am happy to try books out if they are just 99p. I enjoy Diana Henry's writing so am looking forward to joining in;).

whatareyoueatingNOW Tue 03-Apr-18 08:43:26

Brilliant news on the kindles deals. I'll be getting bird in hand as it has been a consideration for a while.

I've cooked so much of Diana Henry's simple that I'd thought I didn't need to revisit - I was wrong. I made a firm favourite today- the Mashed eggs with parsley and anchovies, and flipped through - there's loads I fancy but haven't made.

My favourites are

Leek and feta omelette
Coffee pork chops
Tomato with feta and pomegranate
Crab pasta
Cod crusted with crab
Olive oil and feta leeks
Bacon and egg risotto (not really respecting the Italian side of the month but this is my dc go to comfort food)

I know it's a pretty basic book with basic recipes, so probably not what a lot of people who are really good cooks are looking for- but it's one of my favourites because it really is what it says on the tin, it's simple and usually stuff I can make of a weeknight

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EnglishGirlApproximately Tue 03-Apr-18 10:29:23

I quite like the idea of a simple family dinner book, we eat very well generally but do tend to have a lot of the same meals on repeat. Off to Amazon I go!

Pantah630 Tue 03-Apr-18 11:49:00

Signing in

kateandme Tue 03-Apr-18 11:49:30

sorry axcuse the thickie here in the corner.but...im confused is this a month of cooking anything from her books.aswell as anything Italian.so there are two options?

KoalasAteMyHomework Tue 03-Apr-18 12:51:49

Wow April already! Checking in here.

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Tue 03-Apr-18 13:10:32

I bought A Bird in the Hand about 18 months ago with the plan of trying one new recipe every week because I had got into such a rut. I actually did a couple of new ones a month for about six months, which wasn't bad. The ones that I remake quite often are

Bourbon and marmalade glazed drumsticks - I usually make this with thighs not drumsticks and I halve the amount of mustard because otherwise it's a bit overwhelming. I love this so much.

Chicken with marsala, olives and blood oranges - it needs a bit of extra water or chicken stock IME, and I use regular oranges.

Spanish supper: chicken, morcilla and sherry. I use black pudding instead of morcilla, and I oven cook it before using instead of frying as otherwise it tends to disintegrate.

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Tue 03-Apr-18 13:11:29

And thanks to this thread I have just bought about 20 cookbooks at 99p each. grin

myrtleWilson Tue 03-Apr-18 14:39:08

I'm going Italian tonight courtesy of Rachel Roddy - she has a guardian column and blog and has two books published 5 Quarters and Two Kitchens.
We'll have her puttanesca. Its a dish I've never really fancied before as I think its ubiquitous and can be done badly - but I really like her recipe!

myrtleWilson Tue 03-Apr-18 20:38:52

Photo doesn't really add much - it is after all just a bowl of pasta with tomato, caper, anchovy sauce. Rachel says you can add black olives or use instead of capers but I find olives in food odd (don't know why as I love olives by themselves). Anyway, a simple dish with minimal ingredients but testimony to simple, good ingredients prepared with care do make for a lovely dinner.

whatareyoueatingNOW Tue 03-Apr-18 20:46:23

It sounds delicious Myrtle and exactly what I think Italian and pasta is all about. Simplicity, and ingredients done well.

I've made another from Diana Henry simple - split pea purée with smoked sausage and caraway butter.

I ended up with frankfurters because I sent dh to the shop and he doesn't see any difference between these and the large smoked sausage I told him to buy. I made the purée (it was a soup!) in the pressure cooker. It all took 40 minutes start to finish and was delicious. Dc loved it, dh loves it, it really delivered on all sides. It's not gourmet- but Tuesday tea on a cold rainy day- it was perfect.

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myrtleWilson Tue 03-Apr-18 20:56:03

oh - I've never been tempted by that recipe - I love dhal and I love sausages, I love lentils and sausages (another Italian classic!) but perhaps I should be more open minded - glad it was so good and appreciated by all!. There is a very trendy (but excellent) butchers/beer shop near me where they make their own pork frankfurters - I have been looking for an excuse to buy them!

Orangettes Tue 03-Apr-18 21:53:02

We're away for a few days, but I'm itching to get started on some of the recommendations.
Our most popular Diana Henry recipe is Burmese chicken with tart-sweet chilli sauce with rice and steamed broccoli form Simple. It's easy and really delivers on flavour - I never make enough chicken for leftovers - we make a modification to her recipe - we bake the chicken for ease.

funnyfoursome Wed 04-Apr-18 13:16:39

I've got D Henry's cook simple and love her Italian Sausage pasta. Marking my place here - looks like a great thread!

KoalasAteMyHomework Wed 04-Apr-18 14:35:59

BBC Good Food just tweeted a link to their collection of Diana Henry recipes:
www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/diana-henry

whatareyoueatingNOW Fri 06-Apr-18 14:41:26

Koalas- thanks for the link! I made the broccoli gratin
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/purple-sprouting-broccoli-kale-gratin
For lunch, and it was a massive success! I used normal broccoli and added some bacon lardons. Not in any way a health food but delicious 😋

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BlackAmericanoNoSugar Fri 06-Apr-18 20:26:40

WhatareyoueatingNOW I made that split pea puree and it was delicious. DD wouldn't eat it but DS did eat it, which was remarkable as he's quite tricky about trying new stuff. I didn't do the caraway butter as I didn't have any caraway, and I served it with frankfurters for the DC and with pork sausages with black pudding for the adults. DH was scraping the pot trying to get the last of it. grin

I didn't photograph it. Is that a requirement of these threads? I'm not of the Snapchat/Instagram generation so I'm not in the habit of photographing everything.

whatareyoueatingNOW Fri 06-Apr-18 22:55:49

Black- glad you enjoyed it- it wasn't an immediate choice for me but the family really took to it. The caraway butter is nice, but it's not the main event.

And no! Photos are absolutely optional. I think we all like to read how others felt a recipe went more than just looking at it. (I add pictures because I'll be adding them to eat your books website anyway)

I made Diana Henry's pasta a la cevenole , another from simple. It was very nice, though I lowered the cream quantity (used 300ml) , and can't see that it needs anymore. I really enjoy this book as there's always something in the more that I can make with stuff I happen to have iykwim.

I've got a chicken marinating for tomorrow, as per this recipe
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/roast-spatchcock-chicken-lemongrass-honey-fish-sauce
Fingers crossed it'll taste as good as the marinade smells

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whatareyoueatingNOW Sun 08-Apr-18 08:04:24

I made Diana Henry's Asian dressed chicken linked earlier , and it was delicious 😋. Much less spicy than expected as the chilli is cooked out. My dc and dh enjoyed it , it was really nice.

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whatareyoueatingNOW Tue 10-Apr-18 21:12:15

Ginos pizza blanco today. I love his dough. It's very different from the hfw dough I've been using for years and is just so much crisper! It was lovely and I'll use the dough repeatedly

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